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With his stunning win in the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, Bryson DeChambeau may have disrupted the golfing world more than amateur player Francis Ouimet did back in 1913. DeChambeau, whose reliance on science and unconventional thinking to championship golf has been the buzz for a couple of years, did upset the proverbial apple cart with a 6-under-par score on a course which is the most brutal venue for a U.S. Open. He was the only one in the field to finish under par.
Hale Irwin won in 1974 with 7-over par in an event they termed the “Massacre at Winged Foot.” That’s when the USGA faced an accusation that they were out to “embarrass” pro golfers.
DeChambeau emerges as one of only three golfers to win an NCAA Individual Championship, a U.S. amateur Championship and a U.S. Open Championship. The other two are Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
The 2020 U.S. Open was DeChambeau’s eighth professional victory, earning $2.25 million for the win.
For readers who don’t know much about DeChambeau, here are a few oddities and peculiarities specific to him but drawing a lot of attention.
First, all his irons are the same length, and his clubs are fitted with jumbo grips, including his five-degree driver with a XXX-stiff shaft. He practically never plays a casual practice round of golf. His time is spent almost exclusively on the driving and short-game ranges. W
ith a defining strategy in mind of winning tournaments by bludgeoning golf courses with distance and power, DeChambeau had added 40 pounds of muscle and bulk to his 6’ 1” frame since last October, with three gym workouts and six protein drinks a day. He plans to add another 15 pounds prior to the Masters in November.
While DeChambeau drives the ball long, six players averaged more yardage off the tee in this U.S. Open, according to the USGA stats. More important for DeChambeau was his power and precision from the five-inch-plus rough. He hit his pitching wedge 180 yards from rough so deep that some players lost their balls in it. He only hit 43 percent of the fairways, but he hit two-thirds of the greens. This is the “bomb and gouge” game personified.
Much like Ben Hogan did at Oakland Hills in the 1951 U.S. Open, DeChambeau brought the “monster” Winged Foot to its knees.
Dr. Charlie Blanchard is a licensed psychologist specializing in sports and leadership. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.